If you’re looking for a day trip outside of Paris, look no further than château de Fontainebleau.


This gorgeous château is my favorite French palace and is a photographer’s paradise. It’s also one of the largest royal residences remaining in Europe, and listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Fontainebleau was inhabited almost continuously from the 12th century until the fall of Napoleon III in 1870, and then by the first presidents of the 3rd Republic. Today it is an immense palace with many courtyards and gardens and its exceptional collections make it the most fully furnished of the French royal châteaux.


I visited Fontainebleau the day before I visited Versailles and I’m so glad I planned my schedule this way because Fontainebleau is not only less crowded, but it won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed, like the much larger Versailles. Conquering Versailles in one day is a big task that will leave you exhausted and soon ornate, gold ceilings and crystal chandeliers all start to look the same. Fontainebleau hasn’t received the same level of upkeep that Versailles has which makes it look and feel more authentic and like a real home. The lack of power washing has allowed the stunning horse shoe shaped stone staircase to age gracefully and keep its charm.


If you are a Marie Antoinette enthusiast, you will especially enjoy the self-guided tour through her apartments and the exquisite throne room.


Château de Fontainebleau

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A photographer’s paradise

Chateau de Fontainbleau

The Throne Room

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Magnificent wood work with gold lief 

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My friend, Ruth, was a willing model in this gorgeous location

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One of the long formal rooms

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Viewing one of the courtyards from a suite

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A magnificent staircase

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The Ball Room

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Priceless artwork lit by the light of a chandelier

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Ruth taking in the view…and wishing she lived here

How to reach Château de Fontainebleau

By road: A6 motorway – Fontainebleau exit
By train: Gare de Lyon, take the train for Montereau-Fault-Yonne or Laroche-Migennes or Montargis, get off at Fontainebleau-Avon stop, then take bus 1, direction Les Lilas Château and get off at Poste-Château stop.


Château Hours:
Open every day except Tuesday, January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th.
October – March from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
April – September from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Last admission, except for the bookshop, 45 minutes before closing time.


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I'm an English girl in California. I'm a professional wedding, portrait, event & travel photographer, video & television producer & world traveller.

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